The Ragin' Bull Bike
- A "Frankenbike" by AJ Fisher

AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com

Hello. Thank you for checking out my site. I am a metal artist who has focused primarily on fine art. I am also very interested in mechanics and design in general. With an awareness of climate change and a desire to discourage reliance on oil, I wondered how I could encourage folks to develop and utilize alternative forms of transportation that pollute less, provide excercise, and improve lives. My creative contribution to this discussion is the Ragin' Bull Bike; a unique, custom-framed vehicle capable of transporting up to 4 persons.

Aside from a mode of transportation, the Ragin' Bull Bike is also a work of art; an ergonomic, one-of-a-kind custom vehicle, serviceable with new and used bike parts. This vehicle is designed to ultimately operate within the pre-existing bike lanes of a city. More research on this topic is needed. This form could transport a family of four to the park for a day or allow a group of commuters a new way to "car"pool to work.

Powered by the pedaling of the riders, the concept is in some ways similar to a velomobile.

This transport attempts to bridge the concepts of automobile and bicycle. The name is a misnomer however, since the vehicle is not truly a bicycle, having 8 and not 2 wheels. Artistically, it is inspired by themes and elements of the Old West, particularly the covered wagon. This is my first attempt to create a human-powered vehicle.

Central to the design of the Ragin' Bull Bike is the custom frame. One half of the vehicle is comprised of this artistically and ergonomically derived form. The other half is fashioned from rusty, broken and discarded bike parts plucked from the scrapyard pile or recycling bin and "resurrected" to ride the streets again. The unique, proprietary design relies on the cross-connecting of a single, medial frame and a pair of geometric, sculptural lateral or "outrigger" frames where the riders sit. All steering is effected through the front of the central frame which is equipped with a steerable, "caster-type" wheel assembly. The vehicle may be steered by a left-handed or a right-handed person.

The unique design of the Ragin' Bull Bike also includes the options of future, add-on "modules" such as:

- electric assist motor
- a solar array & battery bank to power motor, lighting, accesories
- a mast & sail for wind-driven mobility

Safety considerations designed into this transport include: headlights, rear lights, running lights on sides, reflectors, bells (to announce approach), individual freewheel capability for each rider, hand brakes, foam padding, holders for water bottles, first aid kit, repair/spare parts kit) and a sun shade.

This vehicle should not be operated by anyone who is intoxicated. It must also be at a complete stop before attempting to get on or off. Close-toed shoes are also encouraged.

The Ragin' Bull Bike is equippped with a chain through its' "nose" so that the vehicle may be locked/secured when not in use or towed/pulled when required.

Future/Long-Term design issues to address:

- weight reduction
- most efficient/flexible gearing (multiple/change gears?) for pedaling
- suspension system
- increased comfort

The Evolution of the Ragin' Bull bike concept

This project has evolved over a long time, at least a year. It will continue to evolve into the future as flaws are assessed and improvements made. The pics below help to illustrate the design process I have been using, which relies heavily on drawing and model-making.

Thank you for visiting this webpage. If you like what you see, check out my fine art pages at www.erganic.com
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com This is the alternate, descriptive text The very first ideas and concept designs were in my head of course. After a few months of working over the concept and sketching here and there, I made my first serious drawings. I also took measurements off of bicycles I had to try and determine the basic ergonomics of bicycle design. I also researched on the internet.
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com This is the alternate, descriptive text The side view of this drawing is pretty similar to the first image. I have also started thinking about how to cross-connect the frames.
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com This is the alternate, descriptive text After thinking about the idea and doing some drawings, I built this model. It is not to scale and it only meant to further explore the working requirements of the concept.
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com This is the alternate, descriptive text After building the concept model, I decided on my ergonomic measurements and drew up these drawings. They are to scale. Initially I contemplated using 10 wheels, but now have decided 8 is the right number. The design is starting to gel I think.
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com This is the alternate, descriptive text These computer drawings were to help me figure out how to lay out the steel tubing to build the frames. I also wanted to figure out the least number of cuts i'd have to make with the saw to make the work go quicker and reduce the waste of steel.
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com This is the alternate, descriptive text Before building the frame in steel, it was much easier and cheaper to build models with plastic square tubing. The model designs include a lot of cross-bracing within the side frames. I would ultimately realize this was overkill for the type of steel tubing I have used in the first version (1 1/2" square).
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com This is the alternate, descriptive text Here is the frame. I fabricated it in a day.
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com This is the alternate, descriptive text This is yet another model. This one helped me to understand the challenges I would face with a single drive axel such as mine. In particular, the lack of a differential meant turning might be nearly impossible. My solution is to have the outermost wheels spin freely on bearings, while the central wheels would be driven by the gearing.
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com This is the alternate, descriptive text I set up all my bits and pieces in one assembly area. I got the frame up on supports to better represent its ultimate size and to ease assembly.
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com This is the alternate, descriptive text I continued to lay out pieces to help me imagine how to construct the wheel assemblies.
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com This is the alternate, descriptive text This is a close-up of the prototype wheel assembly.
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com This is the alternate, descriptive text I am experimenting with crank positioning that would encourage placement of the chains to the "interior" of the vehicle frame for safety. With this crank reversed, I'll have to weld a tack in place to keep it from unscrewing.
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com This is the alternate, descriptive text Mocking up and envisioning the steering system. I want this vehicle to be able to be steered by either a left-handed or a right-handed person. I'm gonna have to extend this and maybe put a steering arm of sorts.
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com This is the alternate, descriptive text On the vehicle's front I am using the handlebars from a scrapped bike to simulate the horns of a bull.
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com This is the alternate, descriptive text The final form is starting to take shape, but there is so much work left to do!
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com 071109 - full length.

Note: I have reconfigured the front wheel assembly to place the wheel center just behind the "steering column".
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com I took this drawing to a local metal shop that specializes in laser cutting and they were able to produce 4 hub & spoke replacement plates that would accomodate the 1" axle I wanted to use.
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com 081109 - Finally have all the wheels on! The two center-most wheels drive the vehicle. the outermost "center" wheels rotate freely, serving sort of like training wheels to stabilize and support the vehicle. I still need to install the chains and gearing, sun shade, tension rods, lighting system, and brakes.
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com 081109 - Alternate angle. I've also begun to add some foam padding and rubber material for the hand-grips. The bull's red eyes are brake light housings bought at an automotive supply store. I have removed the incandescent bulbs and will replace with LEDs. The vehicle is getting heavier, but still rolls quite easily.
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com This is the alternate, descriptive text 081709 - My "transmission modules". There are 4; one for each crank.

Note: the outer wheel has been removed for display purposes.

Additional Note: Initially I was going to flip the right side cranks in an effort to keep all the chain to the interior of the frame for safety. I trashed this idea for a number of reasons.
AJ Fisher Design & erganic.com This is the alternate, descriptive text 081709 - A close-up of one of the four transmission modules. Each unit consists of a section of 6" x 6" x 1 1/2" steel tubing that serves as a support frame. An attachment bracket is fashioned from a couple pieces of angle iron on each side. A standard freewheel bicycle hub is centered and connected via chain to the crank. An additional sprocket had to be centered (challenging!) and welded to the left side of each hub. That sprocket (salvaged from rear coaster bike hub) will connect via a second chain to the drive axle and will almost certainly require a chain tensioner of some sort.
Trial run of the Ragin' Bull Bike is a success! 081909 - It's Alive! I just rode the Ragin' Bull Bike around the block where I live! This was the first "powered" test run. It needed a little push-off to get going, but everything stayed in one piece. It moves a bit slower than a regular bike with pedaling that is a bit faster than a regular bike. I erred on the side of gearing it low. I am very happy with this trial run.

The vehicle designs contained on this web page are the property of AJ Fisher Design. They may not be used without express written permission. The term "Ragin' Bull Bike" is a trademark of AJ Fisher Design. All rights reserved 2008-2009. For more information contact info@ajfisherdesign.com.